European Interest

Russian invasion of Ukraine will have massive impact on global food insecurity

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Consequences of the bombing of the children's hospital and maternity hospital in Mariupol, 9 March 2022.

MEPs from the Development Committee adopted a report calling attention to the global food security crisis in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine.

The text, adopted by Committee on Development MEPs on Thursday 23 June by 20 votes in favour, no votes against, and no abstentions, focuses on the EU’s role in supporting developing countries in addressing food security challenges.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

In the report, MEPs highlight the crucial role both Ukraine and Russia play in the global food system, with many developing countries relying on exports from both. As a result, they say, the Russian invasion of Ukraine will have a massive impact on the wider global food system, and will further exacerbate the situation of food insecurity in many countries. What’s more, the effect of the war comes on top of an already-precarious global food system that has been battered by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has exposed the vulnerabilities of the global food system and has disproportionately affected the most vulnerable, such as children, young people, women, the elderly, and indigenous communities.

Lack of progress on global targets

Alarmed by the lack of progress the world has made towards global nutrition targets, MEPs note that, rather than coming closer to the internationally-agreed commitment to end hunger by 2030, instead hunger, malnutrition, and food insecurity are again increasing across the world. To remedy this, MEPs call for bold action from the EU and member states and for a recognition that ending hunger and malnutrition should be considered as priorities across all policy areas.

EU investment and action needed

The EU should, MEPs say, orient its policies to better link urgent relief to longer-term solutions, and they call on the European Commission and member states to increase their contributions to the World Food Programme. More urgently, they want the EU and member states to immediately cover the funding gap in the 2022 UN Humanitarian appeals for East Africa and the Middle East, where the need for additional support is acute.

EU policies on nutrition and food security need also to recognise that the right to food is a human right and essential in securing food security for all. MEPs say the EU should prioritise food and sustainable agriculture in its international development assistance, support sustainable and smallholder farming, agro-ecology, agroforestry and crop diversification, and prioritise food production over crop-based biofuel production.

“This report has become particularly important in recent months in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Because of the war, we are facing enormous challenges related to food security, and we are dealing with a scenario in which the poor and the defenceless will suffer the most.I hope that with this report, the EU will maintain its leadership role in financially supporting the fight against hunger by prioritizing food security in its development and humanitarian programs. Malnutrition in our time is an unacceptable shame – and the European Union has the resources and capabilities to meet today’s challenges,” said Beata Kempa (ECR, PL), Rapporteur for the Development Committee.

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